Cryptocurrency drug dealer jailed
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A drug dealer who traded in cryptocurrency to buy and sell illegal substances has been jailed for eight years after admitting his involvement in the operation.
In December 2017 officers executed a warrant at Paul Johnson’s home in Northampton Road, Market Harborough, and recovered a number of illegal substances including MDMA tablets, LSD, heroin and ketamine, as well as other drugs paraphernalia.
Digital media investigators accompanied officers on the warrant and found 32-year-old Johnson on his laptop actively trading with Bitcoins (cryptocurrency). They also found orders for drugs on his laptop.
The investigation revealed Johnson was trafficking drugs from a number of countries and using three properties he was renting as the delivery addresses.
He used his loft at home to weigh and package the drugs and post them out to customers.
When officers executed, they seized Johnson’s laptop and secured Bitcoin wallets containing 22.7 coins. When those coins were converted into sterling they were valued at more than £300,000. Drugs to the value of nearly £7,000 were also recovered from the home address.
On Friday 24 January, Johnson (pictured) pleaded guilty to supplying class A and B drugs, possession with intent to supply class A drugs, improper importation of goods – class A and B drugs – to the UK and five counts of money laundering.
Today (Wednesday 5 February) he was sentenced at Leicester Crown Court to eight years in prison, four of those years will be served on licence.
A second person, Lia Johnson, also pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to four counts of money laundering. The 28-year-old of Northampton Road, Market Harborough was given a two year custodial sentence, suspended for two years.
Mr Paul Wenlock from the force’s Economic Crime Unit, said: “Johnson used the internet to commit his crimes, he ran an organised business enterprise and traded in cryptocurrency in an attempt to hide his criminal activity from the authorities. He used his criminal gains to purchase a property and cars.
“This is one of a handful of cases nationally where cryptocurrency has been used in this way. This result is the testament to the knowledge and experience of the digital media investigators who quickly identified what Johnson was doing online and were able to secure the bitcoins.
“This was a lengthy and complex investigation carried out by financial investigators within the unit. The evidence against Johnson was overwhelming and he had no choice but to admit to his crimes. He may not have traded drugs on the street but he knew exactly what he was doing and it’s only right that he now faces a lengthy custodial sentence.”